Anytime I hear the word “miracle” I become suspicious. I know the word appeals to highly religious folks. However, as far as I can tell, behind every so called “miracle” there is a con man.
Now that Texas Governor Rick Perry is the GOP frontrunner for the presidency, the media is flooding the airwaves with Perry-mania. Perry’s support is mostly based on his so called “Texas Miracle”. Perry wants Americans to believe that through his leadership and job creating record he is qualified for the presidency.
Perry points to the fact that since 2009, 38% of all jobs created in the U.S. were created in Texas. This is a true. However, the reason for the job growth in Texas has nothing to do with Rick Perry and his approach to the economy. In fact, Rick Perry should be thanking President Obama for the economic “miracle” in Texas.
Consider this, Rick Perry claims, “I know how to create jobs … You let the private sector [free from] over taxation, free them up from over regulation, free them up from over litigation.” Perry sums up his economic strategy in six predictable words, “Government, get out of the way.”
Perry says his business friendly policies have invited entrepreneurs to the state, which he claims is the key to Texas’ recent success. However, U.S. News and World Report recently investigated Perry’s claims about private sector growth in Texas. What they discovered was Rick Perry and his right-wing supporters have been lying through their teeth. (What a surprise!)
According to U.S News and World Report, “Since the recession began, Texas has added about 75,000 jobs, one of the few states with any job creation at all. Overall, the U.S. economy has lost about 5.6 million jobs since then. But net job gains in Texas have come entirely from government hiring, which accounts for 115,000 new jobs over the past three years. The private sector in Texas shed about 40,000 jobs during that time.”
That’s right, since the recession, under Rick Perry’s leadership, the private sector shed 40,000 jobs. What you also won’t hear from Rick Perry and Fox News is that Texas receives more than $200 billion per year from the Federal government. Texas hosts several large Army bases and NASA has a presence in the state.
In addition, Rick Perry accepted $6.4 billion in the much maligned Obama stimulus money, which according to the Washington Post, Texas used to support education, health care, and help run other parts of both the state and local government. However, the funds are now mostly dried up and Perry is planning on cutting $15 billion out of the state budget by slashing, as you might guess, education and health care. This will inevitably lead to the loss of jobs.
While Rick Perry has been in office, unemployment went from 4.4 to 8.4. Likewise, according to Bureau of Labor and Statistics, when George W. Bush became president, unemployment was at a similar 4.2. By the time Bush left office in 2009, U.S. unemployment shot up to 8.1. In Bush’s last months the nation was shedding nearly 800,000 jobs per month. Within months of becoming president, Obama signed into law the stimulus bill, which put an end to the Republican created freefall in unemployment. Since the stimulus bill, unemployment leveled out at 9.1, with real unemployment numbers considerably higher.
While Obama has been in office, Texas has been one of the nation’s biggest benefactors of Federal funds. Rick Perry used Obama’s stimulus money to create the Texas Miracle. Now Perry is on the campaign trail touting his economic success. However, what Perry and the screaming right-wing crazies won’t tell you is that Texas Miracle has more to do with rising oil prices (which the Repugs falsely blame on Obama) and Obama’s stimulus bill. Perry’s claim that, since the recession, his pro-business policies of low taxes and limited regulations helped create jobs in Texas is simply false. Like most claims about miracles, once you take a closer look, the so called “miracle” turns out to be nothing more than a cheap magic trick or Kabuki Theater.